Reply To: Captain Blood [1988]

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Captain Blood had a truly unique dialogue interface with a fairly large predefined set of words/terms that presented the illusion that the player had the ability to express themselves in complex ways and actually be understood.

It straddles the divide between static/predefined lines of a dialog tree (which limits queries to a fixed set) and full free text parsers (which limits queries to simple keywords).

It’s implemented as an interpreter with scripts for each NPC with a large number of responses, that are linked to queries in specific ways – it’s roughly keyword based, but just a bit more complex than that.

The result… doesn’t really work I’d say. You are still left to guess what to say to prompt a response, and the responses range between tangentially related to what you said and entirely random, and are usually hard to understand as well. Mostly, it’s the worst of both worlds.

But dammit they tried. On some days, I still think the system has potential to be revolutionary… if you tune it just the right way… and write the right scripts… in the right contexts…then maybe?

More details of their implementation at